A short distance above the Cedar Grove is the base of the ski station of les Cèdres. It is Lebanon's highest, at just over 2000 metres, and is also surrounded by Lebanon's highest peaks. Therefore, it typically has the best snow and least crowds, being further away from Beirut. The downside is that the resort does not have the country's best amenities as do the fancy resorts closer to Beirut.
The Cedar Grove of les Cèdres is one of its major attractions. It contains one of the few remaining clusters of cedar trees, some of which as old as 1000 years. These slow growing trees have been cut down since antiquity and exported around the region and beyond, resulting in a gradual deforestation. The degradation of the soil after the trees were removed meant that it was difficult for the trees to cover the mountains once again. This grove is thus highly protected and is fenced off, but hikes through it are possible at certain times.
Keep looking at this pic and you'll start to see religious figures carved in to the tree such as Jesus, among others. We stood there for 30 minutes looking for all the figures around the tree (cannot all be captured by the shot shown here).
El Arz is very difficult to reach as one must drive up a narrow winding mountain road along Qadisha Valley. It is best to travel with someone who knows the way, and let them drive so you could enjoy the views, which is how I got there. However, I was told public transport from Tripoli to Bcharré is available, but then a taxi up a few kilometres to el Arz may be necessary, or a hike along the scenic road. The trip takes 45 minutes to one hour from the coast.
To go to Bcharré, minibuses are leaving Trablous from Abdel Hamid Karani Square (near the tourist office). The price is 2500 LL (June 2002).
In Bcharré I tried to find a service taxi to The Cedars. Couldn’t find one so I paid 8000 LL for a taxi. If you want to walk back take the road past the Qadisha Grotto. Bring sun protection and a lot of water, as the sun is hot. The view is fantastic! There are not many cars going this way so if you want to have a lift you should take the other road.